Saints Battle Hard at NJCAA National Championships

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Council Bluffs, Iowa- Four Mercyhurst North East wrestlers competed at the national tournament this past weekend. The sSints finished 3-8 overall in the very competitive national tournament. Derek Ridgeway 157lbs, Hunter Harnish 197lbs, Kennard Hairston 174lbs, and Deven Simpson 184lbs took some close losses to multiple high ranked opponents this weekend.


Ridgeway defeated Caleb Mendez from Northwest Kansas Tech by a score of 3-0 in his first match. The next match Ridgeway took a close loss to the #7 seed Tristen Guaman from Harper College by a score of 13-10. To finish his tournament Ridgeway lost 5-3 against Noah Tarr from Thaddeus Stevens College. This is Ridgeways final tournament as a Mercyhurst North East Saint, he looks to wrestle somewhere locally to finish his bachelor's degree.


Hairston lost his first match buy a score of 6-0 against Adrian Cervantes from Joliet College. Next Match, Hairston won by a score of 8-3 against Connor Dixon from Rowan College. To finish his season, Hairston lost a close one against Juan Ramos from Camden College by a score of 4-2. Hairston will be back next season as Coach Cooper looks at him to be a good leader for the team as a sophmore.


Simpson lost a couple hard fought battles during the tournament. In his first match he lost by a score of 4-1, giving up a last second reversal against the #3 seed Connor Kickland from Western Wyoming College. In his final match as a Saints wrestler, Simpson lost by the same score of 4-1 to Nick Suk from Middlesex College. Like Ridgeway, Simpson is looking to continue his wrestling and academic career at a local college.


Finally, Harnish probably had the hardest tournament of them all having to wrestle the #1 seed and the eventual fifth place finisher. In his first match, Harnish beat Christian Grover from North Idaho by a score of 9-6. In his next match, Harnish wrestled the #1 seed and 2nd place finisher Tyree Sutton from Iowa Central, he lost by a pin fall in the second period. In his final match at the tournament, Harnish lost to the eventual 5th place finisher by another pin fall against Mason Hawkins from Rochester College. Like Hairston, Harnish is going to be a key component for the saints next season as a sophmore.